As athletes, business executives, politicians, and sports fans gathered in Beijing’s 91,000-seat National Stadium for the opening ceremony of the Games of the XXIX Olympiad on August 8, Debevoise & Plimpton international arbitration partner David Rivkin was there.
Rivkin is the only American on the 12-member panel of the Beijing ad hoc division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Founded in 1984, the Lausanne, Switzerland-based sports court will hear all legal disputes arising out of the Beijing games.
“Everything from doping disputes to eligibility issues, we’ll be there,” says Rivkin, noting that CAS arbitrators have to be on the scene at the Olympics because rulings must be made on an expedited basis.
CAS panels sit in teams of three arbitrators, says Rivkin, with one being chosen to preside over the panel. Rivkin, who served as a CAS panelist in Salt Lake City in 2002 and Athens in 2004, arrived in Beijing on August 3 when the ad hoc division began receiving cases prior to the beginning of the Beijing Games.
Headquartered in the Park Plaza Wangfujing in Beijing–just a few blocks from Tiananmen Square–CAS figures to have a few high-profile disputes on its hands within the next two weeks.
The Am Law Daily will bring you the big cases and decisions that play out over the next 16 days. First, a quick rundown of the CAS panelists now hard at work in Beijing:
The Hon. Michael Beloff (United Kingdom): The prominent barrister at Blackstone Chambers in London gets his honorific from his father Sir Max Beloff, Baron Beloff, a famous British historian who was awarded a life peerage in 1981. The younger Beloff has been a CAS panelist at the Atlanta, Sydney, and Athens Olympics.
Margarita Echeverría Bermúdez (Costa Rica): Echeverría Bermúdez serves as general counsel for the Costa Rican Football Federation in San José. This is her first stint as an Olympics ad hoc CAS panelist.
Luigi Fumagalli (Italy): A law professor at the University of Milan and a partner at 65-lawyer Italian firm Pavia e Ansaldo, Fumagalli also serves as an appeals judge for Euroleague basketball. A founding member of the Italian Association of Sports Law, this is his first stint as an Olympics ad hoc CAS panelist.
Thomas Lee (Malaysia): A barrister in Kuala Lumpur and a senior partner at Malaysian firm Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill, Lee is a past president of the Malaysian Golf Association. He previously served as a CAS panelist at the Sydney Olympics.
Chi Liu (China): A lecturer on sports law at Beijing Sport University, Liu is also counsel in the Beijing office of Jun He Law Offices, one of China’s largest domestic firms. This is his first Olympics as an ad hoc CAS panelist.
Professor Richard McLaren (Canada): A law professor at the University of Western Ontario and of counsel with McKenzie Lake Lawyers in London, Ont., McLaren is a seasoned expert in the areas of arbitration and corporate law. For seven years he served as a salary arbitrator for the National Hockey League. McLaren has been a CAS panelist at the Nagano, Sydney, Athens, and Turin Olympics.